Masters Thesis

The Effects of Stereotyping upon Mental Rotation Performance among Queer Men and Women

The purpose of the current study was to determine if members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, etc. (LGBTQ+) community experience stereotype threat—a psychological phenomenon that hinders a marginalized individual in a multitude of tasks and stereotype boost —an effect that enhances an individual’s performance when a positive stereotype makes identity salient. the effects of stereotyping were measured using a mental rotation task, which has, historically, created a notable gap in performance between men and women. Participants completed the mental rotation while in one of three conditions: control (no identity salience), gender (gender identity salience), and sexual orientation (queer identity salience). It was hypothesized that participants in the control condition would perform similarly on the mental rotation task. When gender identity was made salient, it was predicted that queer men would higher mental rotation performance scores while queer women’s performance would be hindered—thereby demonstrating the effects of stereotype threat. Finally, it was hypothesized that when queer identity was primed, queer men’s performance would be hindered while queer women would experience an enhancement of mental rotation ability—an effect of both stereotype boost and Gay Inversion Theory. a factorial ANOVA analysis indicated that there were no present main or interaction. It is likely that recruitment challenges, priming methods, and reluctance to engage in psychological research contributed to a low sample size and power issues with the current data.

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